Pacific Seafarer’s Net Assists in Maritime Rescue of Sailors on Sinking Sailboat

The Pacific Seafarer’s Net relayed a call for help and contacted the US Coast Guard on September 28, after the SV Rafiki began taking on water some 230 miles south of Cold Bay, Alaska. At approximately 0300 UTC, Charles Houlihan, KD6SPJ, a net relay station, received the distress call from the sailboat’s caption. Houlihan, who was also at sea in SV Jacaranda, contacted Randy VanLeeuwen, KH6RC, a net relay station in Hawaii. He, in turn, got in touch with Hawaii USCG District 14 to report the incident and provide Rafiki’s location. The Hawaii USCG district then contacted the 17th USCG District in Alaska, which effected the rescue. VanLeeuwen kept in constant radio contact with the Rafiki until contact with lost. Fred Moore, W3ZU, in Florida, and Peter Mott, ZL1PWM, in New Zealand, also were on frequency and in contact with the vessel’s captain until a US Coast Guard rescue helicopter arrived.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew was able to hoist the captain and a crew member to safety at around 1000 UTC, after dropping survival suits. Both men were reported to be uninjured, but the vessel was abandoned. The two men were taken to Kodiak, Alaska, for medical attention.

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